Challenge #15 A Banned Book

f39c38ec882602eff2abee7c86b9130e.jpgI am sorry to say that I have only now just read The Diary of Anne Frank. When I was in middle school we read the play version and even went to go see the production, but now I feel like they did us a great disservice by not having us read the whole book. Anne was such a remarkable person.

There were many times that felt the same as Anne, especially when I though of my younger adolescent self. As a girl just starting to go through puberty, her situation was made even worse by the constraints of her living situations. Any child going through puberty, or any adult who remembers what it was like going through puberty would be able to easily relate to Anne. Especially since she holds nothing back. This diary was meant to be a place where she could write her most private thoughts in order to have an escape. She was “Kitty’s” only true audience until it’s world wide publication.

I was also surprised on Anne’s reflectiveness of the world around her. She was only 13-14 for the majority of the writing at yet she had a higher understanding of the issues at the time and asked great philosophical questions as a result. I loved Anne’s optimism and her willingness to always look to the future. Which is not to say that she never was in misery or doubt. She even mentioned a few times how it might be better if they were already caught and dead so that they would not have to wait so long for the unknown. But can anyone blame her? I think I would have been in much more despair had I been in her place.

I just hope that if I ever get to teach Anne’s diary to students, I can do her justice.


10 Books I Would Re-read if I had the Time YA edition

When I made my previous post about books that I would like to re-read if I had the time, I left out all of my favorite YA books. That’s a problem because while the majority of my shelves are no longer filled up with YA novels, I still do read them and love them. But as I went back to my previous list, there wasn’t enough space for all the books I wanted to include. To remedy this problem I decided to make a second list made up of just YA novels completely to itself. I suggest you go read these right away.

These are in no particular order

  • Percy Jackson Series  

When I started these books I was indeed still considered a young adult, but not quite the age range specified for these particular novels (I was in either 11th or 12th grade). Despite some people believing I was too old for these stories, I knew that if I had indeed been my 7th or 8th grade self at the time you would never have been able to pry these books from my hands. They were everything I had been looking for while growing up: myths, adventure, comedy, cutesy romance! I don’t care how old I get the Percy Jackson series will forever hold a place in my heart!

  • The Book Thief

I never thought I would so attached to a book that was narrated by Death, especially when that book takes place during WWII. If this book does not become a classic then there is no justice in the world. I still remember reaching the end of the book, and my dad walking into my room to see tears running down my face and sobs shaking my body. He immediately jumped into panic mode and asked what was wrong and I held up my copy of the book. When he saw that I was just being my crazy book-loving self he rolled his eyes and walked out the door. Who knows if I’ll be better off the next time I pick up this masterpiece.

  • Wildwood Dancing 

One of my favorite genres to read is fractured fairy tales (aka retellings of classic fairy tales, generally with a twist). Wildwood Dancing is by far the best retelling I have EVER read. It is actually a combination of several fairy tales, but mainly focusing on “The Twelve Dancing Princess” and “The Frog Prince.” The imagery conjured up by the poetic language and mysterious turns of events had me turning through the pages until the very end. I can remember the dreamy haze that I entered in while reading. It was so sad to wake up at the end.

  • The Fault in Our Stars

This one shocked me. I usually don’t enjoy realistic fiction and yet when I reached the end of this beautiful book I found myself so completely attached to the story and the characters that I wondered if I would ever be truly happy again. I was a bit older when I read this one though, probably around 21, so maybe I had just learned to appreciate different types of genres. For a story that was about learning to let go, I was unwilling to do just that.

  • The Airborne Trilogy

I read these books just a couple years ago, but man did I wish that they had come into my life so much sooner! Like Percy Jackson, these books were everything I was looking for in novels when I was growing up (I really liked good adventure stories). While not strictly steampunk per say, these stories do take place around the end of the century in an alternate reality where instead of steamships and trains, the main mode of transportation was airships.

  • His Dark Materials

Phillip Pullman is a freaking genius! If you have not read these books make sure you do so very soon! I even recommend listening to the audiobook versions. They are a full-cast audio and some of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to. I found them to be perfect winter reads when I was cuddled up under big blankets and with snow swirling outside my window.

  • L.O.S.T Trilogy

I would be surprised if anyone had heard of these books. I discovered them when I was about 15 years-old. That summer my life was dedicated to these stories. If you haven’t caught on yet, I loved (and still do) fantasy fiction. I was also your typical 15 year-old girl who loved endearing romance stories. These books were a perfect balance of just that. I still remember the summer that I read these books to be one of the best summer readings ever! Even when I had long since finished the books I often returned to favorite passages (the closest I have ever come to re-reading) and lived with my head in the clouds.

  • The Thief Lord

We read this book in 6th grade Reading Class and I still remember the hold it held over me and my classmates. The fact that it was read in school, and the fact that I don’t remember any tests or quizzes given on it (although I’m sure there were plenty), but only the excitement of reading together as a class, shows how much this book stuck out to me. I know for a fact that I will revisit this book someday-either on my own, to my own future children, or to my students. The Thief Lord will be read once again in my life.

  • Hear the Wind Blow

Let me just start off by saying that Mary Hahn Downing’s books were my life between the ages of 9-12. I loved all of her books and the library had to keep ordering in more for me. That being said Hear the Wind Blow was a very special one for me. All of her other books were ghost stories (that’s literally all I read at that stage in my life), but this one was purely historical fiction. I still remember my librarian coming to me and telling me that this was a different from all her other stuff that I had read, but she thought I would like it all the same. When she told me that it was historical fiction I remember being very hesitant, but I trusted her and gave it a shot anyway. I am so glad that I did! This is the book that got me interested in historical fiction and history in general, specifically the Civil War. From that time forward, I was on the constant prowl for more historical fiction that would lead me into another time and place.

  • The House Next Door

Speaking of those ghosts I was reading during that time, this one happened to be one of my favorites. This was the first book I remember reading that had such a beautiful love story that I actually wept. Up until that point I had never cried at a book before. The injustice of it all and the raw ache that I felt inside gave my pre-teen heart something to hope for, to dream about. I’m not making the claim that this book was any great masterpiece. Rather it happened to come into my life at the exactly the right time, and touch me in exactly the right way that I knew I would never ever forget it. I still even remember the smell of the pages…

So there you have it, my list of books that I would like very much to revisit someday. I could probably add a few more onto the list but these ones made the biggest impact in my life. Thanks to these books, my childhood was full of imagination and fun. Thank you to all the authors who wrote these books and allowed to me to become the dreamer that I am today.

Link to Original Blog:

In which I share 10 books I read over and over (and over)

Challenge #14 A Book that has a Color in the Title

Apparently this challenge was not a difficult one for me to accomplish. I did’t realize until I completed this challenge that I had actually already two books with a color in the title..5436850298c75ac4358bfe215cd482d7.jpg.oops. Oh well, I used those two for other challenges anyway (challenges 12 & 13).  To go along with the YA streak that I was on, I decided to pick up The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed his Percy Jackson Series. They are literally probably my favorite books. So I was expecting quite a bit from the his Egyptian series as well. I will admit that my standards were lowered by the fact that I hadn’t heard as much praise from the reading community about these books that I had about all his other books. The result was a mix between “Ok, this is a good story” and “Hmm, this seems a bit lack luster compared to the Greek Series.” I was particularly disappointed with the portrayal of the gods in The Red Pyramid compared to his other series. Growing up I loved both Greek and Egyptian mythology and when I read the Percy Jackson series I thought “Yes! This is exactly how I would imagine the Greek gods would be in a modern retelling with an audience focused on kids and young adults.” I didn’t get that feeling with the Egyptian gods however. They didn’t possess that immortal like quality that Riordan gives to the Greeks. Also, the plot was a little more confusing based on his descriptions. Other than that it wasn’t bad! Carter’s parts annoyed me a little. He definitely seemed like a stronger character when Sadie was telling the story. Sometimes he just seemed too forced. Overall I gave The Red Pyramid four stars. It’s still a great book for anyone to read and I’m looking forward to reading The Throne of Fire and The Serpent’s Shadow here soon.